Security Experts:

Boston Liquor Store Hit With Point-of-Sale Malware

A Boston-based merchant warned customers this week that a “sophisticated malware attack” had compromised some customers' credit and debit card information. An investigation was underway and more details are expected later this week.

Blanchard's Liquors of Allston discovered last Friday that its point-of-sale (POS) systems had been infected with malware and some customer credit and debit card information may have been compromised, according to a statement on the store's Website. The company immediately took down its primary credit card terminals, removed the infection, and brought the system back online on Saturday.

Affected customers used their credit and debit cards at Blanchard's, whose storefront is located just west of Boston University. It's not known at this time how the POS system was infected, or which malware was used.

SecurityWeek reported this week on vSkimmer, a new variant of the Dexter malware and Dump Memory Grabber, two malware families specifically targeting POS systems to harvest user payment card details.

“Blanchard’s continues to investigate, but it believes that the issue was contained by Saturday and the malware neutralized and removed,” the company said in its statement.

Blanchard's learned about the issue after law enforcement authorities notified management that customers had been hit with fraudulent and foreign charges on “credit and debit cards used at Blanchard's, among other places,” according to the statement. Store manager Matt Lawrence told the Boston Globe employees and other managers had also had their data compromised. “We've all been affected,” Lawrence told the Globe.

Blanchard's has been working with local police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and independent IT consultants to identify the victims and to understand the scope of the attack. The store's management and legal team are expected to receive a forensic report with information about how long the malware was on the store's point-of-sale systems and the extent of the compromise on Friday, according to the Globe.

Blanchard's “continues to work closely with payment card brands and issuers” to identify the compromised accounts so that issuers can employ enhanced fraud security measures immediately, according to the statement. Customers who believe their accounts may be impacted should monitor their statements and report and suspicious account activity to their card issuer or bank directly. Customers should also immediately change PIN numbers and other account security settings and refer to consumer protection tips at the Federal Trade Commission Website.

“We would like to apologize to all of our valued customers who were inconvenienced by this incident,” Blanchard's said in its statement.

Related Reading: Exclusive - New Malware Targeting POS Systems, ATMs Hits Major US Banks

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Fahmida Y. Rashid is a Senior Contributing Writer for SecurityWeek. She has experience writing and reviewing security, core Internet infrastructure, open source, networking, and storage. Before setting out her journalism shingle, she spent nine years as a help-desk technician, software and Web application developer, network administrator, and technology consultant.